Gbagbo Hides in Bunker as His Army Chief Calls for Cease-FirePublished on Tuesday 5th April 2011
The army chief for Ivory Coast's defiant leader, Laurent Gbagbo, has called for a cease-fire as Gbagbo takes cover in a bunker inside his Abidjan home.General Philippe Mangou called for the cease-fire on Tuesday, as forces loyal to internationally-recognized president Alassane Ouattara attacked Gbagbo's last few strongholds.Heavy gunfire continued in Abidjan Tuesday, six days after Ouattara's forces entered the city as part of a rapid offensive to force Gbagbo from power.Gbagbo's army chief took refuge last week in the home of the South African ambassador, but returned to his post on Sunday.On Monday, U.N. helicopters fired on two Gbagbo army camps, the presidential palace and Gbagbo's residence. France says its forces took part in the attack at the U.N.'s request. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the attacks were meant to prevent Gbagbo forces from using heavy weapons against civilians and U.N. peacekeepers.Gbagbo supporters say the U.N. and French attacks were illegal and amounted to an assassination attempt against the incumbent leader. Gbagbo refused to give up power after Ouattara was named the winner of last November's presidential election.Hundreds of people have died in post-election fighting, including many civilians. A top U.N. human rights official, Ivan Simonovic, arrived in Abidjan Sunday to evaluate the situation. The U.N. has begun investigating reported mass killings that took place in the western town of Duekoue last week.The U.N. says up to 1 million people have fled their homes since violence began in December. More than 100,000 have fled to neighboring Liberia, with smaller numbers going to Ghana.Gbagbo has ruled Ivory Coast since 2000.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.